updated 12:10 am EDT, Tue August 9, 2011
Latest round in ongoing legal battle
The ongoing series of patent disputes involving HTC (who bought original complainant S3 Graphics) and Apple took yet another turn today as the International Trade Commission (ITC) agreed to review Apple's second patent-infringement complaint against the smartphone and tablet maker, which could result in a block of some current and future HTC products if Apple wins the review, Bloomberg reports.
A preliminary finding last month said that Apple was infringing on two S3 Graphics patents now owned by HTC, but Apple quickly won its own case with their first complaint when the same body found HTC to be infringing on two Apple patents, again a preliminary decision
Both rulings are subject to review by the six-member full commission, but victories for either company could result in products being taken off shelves in the U.S., raising the stakes considerably and putting pressure on both companies to reach a settlement.
Overall, HTC has fared less well than Apple at the ITC, and now faces an additional review over five Apple patents being infringed, largely connected to software architecture and user interfaces as well as hardware related to touchscreens and movement sensors.
Apple latest complaint targets both the Flyer tablet as well as the Droid Incredible, Wildfire, EVO 4G and Desire. Previous complaints from Apple has focuses on devices that are now largely no longer sold, such as the Nexus One, but also included some Windows Mobile-era phones, including current models.
Despite the inclusion of some Windows devices, the court battle is largely seen as a proxy fight with Google over the Android operating system, and which Apple may use to slow down adoption by attaching royalties to its use -- a tactic semi-successfully used by Microsoft, though it has not had to approach the ITC to asset its claims. HTC, facing a possible ban on its products from the U.S. market, has expressed a more public willingness to negotiate a settlement and says it has occasionally held talks with Apple. [via Bloomberg]